It is a common misconception to assume that drug addiction and abuse are one in the same but in fact, there are very different. Both are very damaging to an individual’s life, and they are both connected to the same principle, but each have their own set of characteristics that present different problems for each person.
It is important to know the difference between the two especially when an individual or a family member are trying to find the best way to handle the unique situation.
Characteristics of Drug Abuse
There are many signs that can show that the individual is practicing drug abuse. Many believe that drug abuse is not as severe as an addiction, but it can have just as adverse affects on a person as a drug addiction.
Abuse is the body’s way of adapting to that drug by gradually larger use to gain the feeling the person wants in order to achieve the results of what the user felt initially. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, drug abuse plays a large role in the individual’s social problems, such as violence, driving while under the influence of drugs, child abuse, and stress.
Drug abuse can be the cause of legal and/or behavioral issues when the user is under the influence, and can even cause him or her to do physical harm to others around them. It can also cause the individual to be unable to perform daily tasks from household duties to work responsibilities.
Drug abuse is the stage before addiction that requires the individual to take in more of the substance to reach their desired high. In short, if drug abuse is not handled early on, it can lead to an addiction, which will require professional help to fix.
Drug Addiction Characteristics
According to the NIDA, an addiction is different from abuse because an addiction is the use of a drug by an individual that is compulsive in spite of the harmful consequences. Drug addictions can cause a lower interest in hobbies or interests and impede their progress in their career or education.
It can also affect their social lives by causing him or her to withdraw from their friends and family. Their behavior may revolve around their drug with the desire of remaining in their high for as long and as often as possible.
Many addicts will continually attempt to slow down their use of the drug or detoxify themselves without success and continue to use despite their drug-related problems that begin to arise.
There are many differences between drug addiction and drug abuse. While drug abuse can lead to an addiction if it is not treated correctly, each has their own set of characteristics. An addiction is a compulsive behavior to use the drug that is beyond a person’s control whereas the abuse is a gradual increase in use of the drug to attain the same high they received when they initially used it.
If you or a loved one is suffering from drug abuse or addiction and needs help, call 800-442-6158 Who Answers? to speak with a caring specialist that can assist you.